Logan

 photo logan_ver5_zpsigtia2p8.jpg photo starrating-3stars.jpgFor the uninitiated, Logan is the 10th chapter in Marvel Comic series about the X-Men. You know, those wacky subspecies of humans called mutants who are born with superhuman powers. It follows last year’s fiercely successful Deadpool and the not so wildly lucrative X-Men: Apocalypse. It’s also the 3rd and final entry to feature the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Given U.S. ticket sales, 2013’s The Wolverine was the least popular entry of all 10 films. How to re-invent the character for a theater-going public that has clearly grown tired of this personality?

Logan revolves around Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen) a young mutant girl that enters the life of the aging Wolverine. His healing abilities are not what they once were. He is older and more grizzled here. At first, Logan is worried about caring for the even more decrepit Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). However, his focus changes when a nurse named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), entrusts a mute 11-year-old girl into his care. Young Laura yearns for a sanctuary in North Dakota called “Eden”.  Curiously the feral Laura has strengths that are not unlike the Wolverine’s. That makes Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), the Chief of Security for a company called Transigen, unhappy. You see he doesn’t like mutants and he is in hot pursuit of the little girl.

If you enjoy hyperbole in your reviews then let me attest that Logan is The Goriest Superhero Movie Ever Made!  That’s not hype. I mean what are the contenders?  Watchmen, Kick-Ass, Blade or The Punisher? Logan tops them all. Someone’s face is blown off by a gunshot and the bloody aftermath is shown. People are routinely impaled, blood spurts everywhere. Then there’s my “favorite” scene.  Professor X is prone to seizures. During one of these episodes, time stops with his psychic blast and Charles Xavier freezes everyone at a hotel. This allows Logan to go through a room stabbing people through the head and face with his claws. I mean he splices and dices their brains while they just stand there powerless. It almost seems unfair.

Allow me to hypothesize how the pitch for this story went. “We loved ‘Midnight Special’ but nobody saw it so let’s adapt it into a superhero movie and add more decapitations.” A child in need of protection hits the road with guardians while being pursued by evil baddies. Midnight Special is the most recent cinematic example of this plot. TV’s Stranger Things is a current reference too in that Laura is a kindred spirit of Eleven on that show.  Laura and her ethnically diverse mutant peers are like the women of Mad Max: Fury Road or the kids who survive Children of Men. If this was the 80s we’d be making comparisons to Drew Barrymore in Firestarter. If it was the 90s we’d be talking Edward Furlong in Terminator 2. It’s a recycled story. The difference is that superhero yarns don’t usually center on the portrayal of people at the expense of the extravaganza. Nor do they mine R-rated territory very often. Logan is for people who think the PG-13 rating is why the previous Wolverine installments weren’t very good. I only wish the script had done more than salvage a familiar trope. The story is functional and utilitarian, but it isn’t deep. Logan works best for those who get giddy when an elderly gentleman like Charles Xavier says the F word.

Logan is a deadly serious road trip. To its credit, the saga is more concerned with character development than the spectacle. It’s more intimate than the traditional superhero picture too. Director James Mangold strips the production of unnecessary flourishes. Occasionally it pauses to reflect on age and one’s own mortality. That’s such a rarity it has caused some critics to elevate this to the status of greatest superhero film ever made. Let’s all just calm down now a bit shall we?  Anyone who saw the narratively similar Midnight Special knows an introspective study about people has been done before and better, but I’ll give Logan points for trying at least. This road movie does attempt to give the audience something more than the average X-Men commodity. Logan is easily the best of the three Wolverine episodes, but I stop short of giving this picture any more acclaim beyond that.

3-3-16

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14 Responses to “Logan”

  1. I wouldn’t call it the best superhero film ever made because that’s perhaps a bit over the top, but I did really enjoy it and very much admire the maturity of its themes. Jackman, Stewart and Keen are all excellent here too

  2. Spoiler alert :

    Mark i haven’t watched this film yet. but is it really the last movie for both the Wolverine and Professor X characters? If so, that would be a bit of a letdown. i was hoping for a great X-men movie to be made.

    • Hugh Jackman has said he will no longer play the character. However, that doesn’t mean we still won’t see the Wolverine in films.

      Patrick Stewart previously said he had played Professor X for the last time. Now he says he could be persuaded to play Professor X in a Deadpool/Wolverine crossover movie. Guess he’s not sure now.

      Stay tuned!

  3. “Logan is a deadly serious road trip.” Yuuuup. I called it “an angry Marvel spin off” in my review. I think we’re looking at this the same way. I really just thought the gore was pretty damn excessive. I was into it and evyerhing, but the violence really became freaking cartoonish at the end. Where did Mel Gibson come from all of a sudden? đŸ˜‰

    • You’re spot on!

      I find it amusing that people keep championing this as an R-rated game changer for comic book movies. It’s like the thematically similar Watchmen with its violent, dark atmosphere never happened way back in 2009.

      Actually, the 90s were full of R-rated comic book adaptations: The Crow, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, Spawn, Blade are just a few.

      • Funny thing is, that same exact outburst happened with Deadpool, a related film and released less than a year ago. lol

      • People have short term memory huh? lol

        Apparetly way the events are interpreted now is, Deadpool raised the question of whether R-rated superhero movies could work, and then Logan confirmed it.

  4. I liked the movie on a level of it was a good wrap up. .but the hard-core violence with small kids doing all that got to me. it soured what would have probably been a really good movie for me.

    • I hear you – a valid point that I haven’t heard many critics make. I touched upon it in my review. The violence is more than just graphic but it’s disturbing — including attacks on defenseless people….including children. Although Laura (a child) dishes out the violence too so I guess that’s called progress?

  5. It started a little slow, but when it got going, I enjoyed it. Wasn’t as great as the hype I’d heard about. Greatest super hero movie ever? Hmmm…. 3 stars.

    • Despite the hyperbolic reviews, the U.S. box office is right in line with what I’d expect. Should do about $250M which would put it around the middle of the pack of X-Men movies when adjusting for inflation.

  6. I’ve heard Logan is incredibly gory. Based on your description, it sounds like it could outdo the movies that you mention. That seizure scene sounds amazing. From what I know, I could see all of the parallels to other movies and television that you reference. I’m bummed to find out that the story is functional and utilitarian, although I can’t say I’m surprised. I like hearing that it’s more concerned with character development than spectacle. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I would probably be in your camp. I don’t think I would be calling it the greatest superhero film ever made. Looking forward to catching it at some point, however.

    • Last year we had Deadpool, Zootopia, Batman v Superman, and The Jungle Book.

      This year we’ve had The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, Kong: Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast so far.

      These big event movies aren’t only released in the summer anymore. It’s a different ballgame.

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